The sky turned red, the ice cracked, the snow ceased and a crane bowed: Kim Jong-il's death – the official version

Reclusive state tells its people that 'even nature was heartbroken' by Dear Leader's passing

Beijing

A A A

So remarkable a figure was Kim Jong-il that "even nature is heartbroken" by his death. During his life, the North Korean dictator " blocked the howling wind of history", and when he died the weather was freakishly cold and the seas were stormy. His death caused waves to rise by up to three metres.

That, at least, is the version of events according to the KCNA, North Korea's official news agency, which admittedly is no stranger to hyperbole. This time, however, it has pulled out all the stops to mark the passing of the country's "Dear Leader".

When Kim Jong-il was born on the sacred mountain of Paekdu, a star rose above the spot and shone brightly, a double rainbow appeared and spring broke out spontaneously. Did we mention that his nativity was foretold by a swallow?

The KCNA line is that once the dreadful days surrounding Kim Jong-il's death are over, a "spring of prosperity under Socialism will surely come to the country thanks to the patriotic devotion of Kim Jong-il who blocked the howling wind of history till the last moments of his life".

And uncommonly bad weather prevailed over his last hours, KCNA reported. "In the morning of December 17 when he was on the train to make a journey of field guidance for the people the temperature was 4 to 7C lower than the average, making it the lowest this winter. "Seeing his dedication, in tears, the people would ask him to stop making any more journeys along snow-covered roads in cold weather and sitting up all night," KCNA pleaded. The sky turned red, it went on, and cracks appeared in frozen lakes. A Manchurian crane then bowed its head in grief.

It was with the help of the state media that Kim Jong-il succeeded in perpetuating the cult of personality built up around his father, Kim Il-sung. Known in official media as the "Lodestar of the 21st Century", Kim Jong-il had a photographic memory and his political writings and philosophy were reported and broadcast every day.

He wrote six operas in two years and hit 11 holes-in-one in the first round of golf he ever played. You wonder what he scored on the other seven. In the West, the image of Kim Jong-il is of a gourmand with a flying phobia, who travelled everywhere in a specially fitted Japanese-built train, with 21 carriages, lobster tanks and two armoured Mercedes cars.

Inside it, Kim Jong-il would quaff bottles of vintage Bordeaux, which he took to drinking after doctors made him give up Hennessy cognac. Meanwhile, outside, his people were starving in the frequent famines that blighted his reign.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate